Another Really Busy Maintenance Season.

Harmonie (like the rest of us) is getting older.  As she ages, she takes more maintenance and care to keep in good shape (like the rest of us!)  We have ended up with three major repair projects this season.  We have been sitting “on the hard” for a couple weeks now, and it looks like a few more.  It’s a more than a bit of a pain living on the boat on land. Dust and dirt are everywhere! But it will be over soon!

First Project, is our transmission. If you have been following closely, you might remember that we have been nursing along a small leak from the rear seal. Not surprisingly, it hasn’t gotten any better on its own.

The old transmission. Engine to the right, prop drive to the left.

\We have a standard ZF25M transmission (Not to be confused with a ZF25, which is a very different beast!) We found an excellent marine transmission shop here in Fort Lauderdale.  They confirmed my understanding that on this transmission replacing the rear seal requires virtually the entire unit to be disassembled.  As a matter of course, they replace all seals and bearings (as a minimum) when they have a unit apart.  

It would take about $1600 in mechanics time alone to get the unit apart and reassembled, plus a significant investment in parts. A new ZF25 is $2100.  That seems like an easy choice.  Replacing the transmission is not a technically difficult job, but there is the matter of removing old bolts, and physically moving the engine a few inches to get the coupling apart, and then getting everything aligned again. The coupling between the transmission and prop drive also has a reputation of being EXTREMELY difficult to remove.  That will keep me busy and out of trouble for a few days!  Buried in the bell housing between the flywheel and the transmission is the damping plate. Until the transmission is removed, we will not know exactly which part is there, and what it’s delivery time will be. The good news from this, is if we ever need a new engine, the new transmission can go along for the ride! We just got the news that the transmission is in stock locally, and can be delivered in a matter of days.

The big decision here is should we pull things apart while we are still high and dry?  or do we wait until we are back in the water?  If we run into a delay while things are apart, it would mean delaying our launch since we need the transmission to maneuver the boat to the dock….

Job Two has been the replacement of the ten fixed port lights in the cabin trunk.  Twenty-five years of tropical sun exposure left the acrylic lenses and the wood frames quite a bit worse for wear. 

An example of the sun crazing in the old acrylic portlights.

We are having new acrylic windows made at a local shop, and the wood refinished.  Although the appearance of the plastic in the windows was the initiating symptom for this project, it is being done “just in time” to save the wood from replacement. We we referred to a local refinisher who will be doing the interior varnish.  I don’t usually think of wood as suffering serious damage from sunlight, but it does! 

Sunlight has faded the interior trim has faded to a rainbow of colors…

The new windows, the refinished wood, and repainted trim on the exterior will have Harmonie looking better than the day we bought her  I am really hoping that the removal of the interior wood trim panels was the toughest part of this job!

Our last major project is a significant repair to the deck. Lots of cutting, grinding, and new fiberglass work outside, and a new hatch and interior trim. Our good buddies at P&S Yacht Services have been doing a great job with this, and we’ll have a lot more to write up about it when it is finished.

And all those things are in addition to the routine maintenance of bottom painting, bow thruster, and prop drive maintenance, and other routine stuff that needs doing on a regular basis.  

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